Sunday, February 19, 2012

Indian Police Arrest Two Italian Navy Members for Killing Unarmed Fishermen

Indian police earlier today (February 19) detained two members of the Italian Navy accused of killing two unarmed Indian fisherman they mistook as pirates off the coast of the southern state of Kerala.

The Italians, part of an anti-piracy security team assigned aboard an Italian merchant vessel, the Enrica Lexie, when the incident occurred on February 15, have been supplied to Italian commercial ships since October 2011 that request such assistance.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said that the Italian foreign minister had called his Indian counterpart on Saturday (February 18) to discuss a mutually acceptable approach to determining what happened in the incident.

COMMENT: Unfortunately, it appears that conclusions have already been made by some, before an investigation has even be addressed, considering that the External Affairs minister told the Italian foreign minister that the incident could have been avoided if the navy security team had shown greater restraint.

A team of Italian diplomats are expected to arrive in New Delhi today to discuss the matter with Indian authorities.

One can only hope that the Italian foreign minister had notified the Indian government of its deploying armed navy teams aboard Italian commercial vessels before the fact and that written rules of engagement had been agreed upon. If that was not the case, bi-lateral relations between India and Italy might well be entering some rough water.

Updates on this posting will be provided as information becomes available.

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